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> > Son's first trout

Shawnny3July 13th, 2009, 10:53 am
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Last week I accomplished a feat that may be a first for me, catching wild brown, brook, and rainbow trout on the same day. It actually wasn't even that great a day of fishing, but I scared up a few rainbows in the morning on a stream with about 90% browns, then headed up to a stream later in the day that I'd never caught anything but browns in. After a frustrating time hooking and losing several of them, I finally brought a fish to hand, and it was a 9" brookie! I don't know what percentage of that stream's population brookies make up, but certainly less than 5% (my guess would be much lower than that), so I was pretty happy. When I met up with my brother, who'd had a lousy day, he stated the obvious: "Wow, how often do you end up a brown trout short of the trifecta." With my brother already headed for the car and me making my last few casts to a few small pockets, I finally got a little hesitation in my line and set the hook, rolling a 15" brown over the rock at the tail of an eddy. An exciting fight down through the pocket water later I'd completed the trifecta. It was a pretty satisfying day, not least because my best fly that day was one of my own patterns (a green curly thing), and my brother had had zero luck on an old standby on that stream (also green, but I will not deign to describe it any further).

Still, the experience left me wanting. I'd caught all three types of trout, but not on the same stream. Earlier in the week, we had been with our real estate agent looking at prospective houses, and she showed us one that backed up to my favorite large stream (which will henceforth be known as Stream A), way up in the headwaters... and exactly where my favorite brookie stream (Stream B) flows into it. Needless to say my wife hated the house and I will never live at the confluence of my two favorite trout streams. But it left me considering an amazing possibility, that way up in the headwaters of Stream A I might be able to find brook trout. This in spite of every account I've ever read of this famous water, in which anglers report only wild browns and rainbows.

So I planned a trip up to the headwaters of Stream A, which is all on private land, in hopes that I could find someone willing to allow me access - all I needed was a few fishy holes that might hold a brookie or two. Just as I was leaving the house, my 6-year-old son Joshua asked if he could go with me. So we hopped in the car and began our little adventure together. An hour later we were finally able to find a person willing to allow us access (I freely confess that I used my son's cuteness to my advantage). But when we got to Stream A we found it completely dry. We hiked up to the confluence with Stream B, which was indeed flowing into it, but at the confluence the flow immediately disappeared under the rocks and was gone. So my finding brookies in the headwaters would have to wait for a different time of year. Making that possibility even less likely were the results of our following hike up the first 100 yards of Stream B - the water that far downstream was lousy - warm (no doubt from landowners creating large pools in the stream), rather nondescript, and devoid, as far as I could tell, of any fish longer than an inch. It would be a long shot for any brookies at any time of year to travel downstream enough that they would end up in Stream A, which probably dries up in that area every summer. Instead of finding fish stacked up in the trib, we found nothing.

So we hiked back out and got into our car. Sometimes, I explained to Joshua, fishing adventures don't turn out the way you hope. He told me that it was OK that we hadn't caught any fish - he'd still had a fun adventure. But I was still determined that he see a fish that day, so we drove up to some public land farther up Stream B. It would run much colder up there, and with the steeper gradient I knew there would be good little pools that we could approach closely enough that Joshua might be able to make some casts to some willing brookies.

But the fishing upstream proved tough, and not just because I was with a six-year-old boy. The fish were spooky and finicky. Still, we had fun sneaking around the stream, and Joshua even located a large mayfly dun on a rock and we let it crawl around on our hands for a few moments. After a number of missed strikes and fruitless pockets and holes, though, he got bored and the dreaded dad-I-want-to-go-home pleading began. But I was determined that he would see a fish, and told him sternly that we weren't leaving until we caught one. Just below the best hole in the stream, where I can usually count on at least 4 or 5 fish, we came upon a little pool where we could hide behind a big rock and flip casts over it into the tail. I got him into position and gave him a few quiet instructions. On his third cast (usually two casts too many to such clear water), to my utter surprise a fish hammered our Adams. Joshua yanked hard, and the ensuing fight occurred not in water but through the air, against the rocks, and into and out of the bushes. I'm sure it made the fish feel much better when I had Joshua wet his hands before handling it. We admired the colors of the beautiful 6-inch brookie, on the large side for that stream, Joshua felt its teeth (he'd asked earlier if fish had them), and he then returned it to the stream as safely as a 6-year-old can. He then turned to me and said, "Daddy, I caught the fish that lets us go home!" So home we went.

Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
GONZOJuly 13th, 2009, 12:01 pm
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
Nice story, Shawn. I'm sure that "the fish that lets us go home" will become a cherished memory...for both father and son. My sympathies about the veto of the prospective house. Perhaps your wife doesn't appreciate the three rules of real estate: location, location, and location. :)
MartinlfJuly 13th, 2009, 1:11 pm
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3222
Great story, Shawn. I'd call this a banner day. My condolences on the house issue, though.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Flatstick96July 13th, 2009, 3:02 pm
Posts: 127

Congrats to Joshua on his first trout! I'm pretty sure I know exactly where he caught it. But tell the truth: didn't he catch it on a Green Weenie? ;-)

Also, given the poor condition of both streams near the prospective house, it occurs to me that perhaps Brenda is due more credit than she has gotten to this point - her sixth sense (we'll call it "trout sense") told her that the fishing there was poor, so she's holding out for something with better fishing. Seems like a heck of a wife to me...
Shawnny3July 13th, 2009, 4:16 pm
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Thanks, you guys, and Joshua passes along his thanks as well. Duane, you are quite perceptive, and after giving her the stream report, wifey was quick to point out exactly what you said. She's holding out all right... for a location which would allow her to own a dog. It goes without saying that that evil plan must be thwarted no matter the cost.


P.S. It occurred to me, Duaney, that the very fish he caught may have been the largest one you pulled out of the better hole above the one he was fishing. The two holes are pretty well isolated and fish may have to wait for higher water to migrate back to their homes after release in the downstream hole. So you may have played an important role in his catch as well.
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
CaseyPJuly 13th, 2009, 5:09 pm
Arlington, VA/ Mercersburg, PA

Posts: 653
wow-a wild trifecta and a son-caught brookie. what a neat story.

...for a location which would allow her to own a dog. It goes without saying that that evil plan must be thwarted no matter the cost.

if she's in love with the idea of a dog, you can remind her that she will have a perpetual 2-year-old to deal with. it will never grow up. it will always need her to get dinner. it will always need to go "out" no matter the weather. Then it will come in with the results of that weather on its paws and need a bath. Right now. And you will need to collect and dispose of the residue. It will have higher doctor bills than your blessed children. It will dig up things you don't want it to, from the tomato plants to unmentionable organic remains. It will demand rides in the car, and either drool down her neck trying to get its head out the window, or throw up on the picnic. Repair people and delivery folk will adopt shifty eyes while on the job around your house. It will try to eat amazing things, like all the back-to-school pencils and your most expensive badger cape.

but if she "grew up with dogs", you're doomed.
"You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra
Pdq5ohJuly 14th, 2009, 6:10 am

Posts: 10
Congrats to your son. I know how we both felt when my son caught his first rainbow.
Flatstick96July 14th, 2009, 9:53 am
Posts: 127
Casey, that was a GREAT dog post; my wife has a dog, which now means that *I* have a dog. What a nuisance that thing is. The strangest thing ours has eaten is a pooped-in diaper. Our dog is truly a foul, FOUL animal.
FalsiflyJuly 14th, 2009, 1:50 pm
Hayward, WI.

Posts: 661
Perhaps if your wife were to get a dog as seen in the following video she would accept a house located on a good fishing location. However, I doubt that you and the dog would get along, as it may out fish even you.

The fishing dog

All kidding aside thanks for the story, it brought back memories of my son many years ago. Donít let the years slip away.

When asked what I just caught that monster on I showed him. He put on his magnifiers and said, "I can't believe they can see that."
Shawnny3July 15th, 2009, 5:46 am
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Thanks, everyone. I'll pass along your congratulations to Joshua, and he passes along his thanks as well.

I didn't know this would spiral into a rather amusing thread about dogs. Funny thing is, I actually grew up with dogs and quite enjoyed them, even dreaming as a youngster of being a vet someday. But in high school I worked as a caretaker of research animals at a vet school, feeding them and shoveling their crap. We had horses, cows, pigs, sheep... and 60 beagles. Without a doubt, the foulest, most annoying animals there were the dogs. As I tell my wife, I've stepped in and shoveled more dog crap than most people will in their lifetimes, and I'm just done with it. But it's not just the crap, it's the constant drooling and spreading of that drool to people's private parts (before and after eating poop), it's the jumping up, it's the shedding, it's the fleas and ticks (and Lyme's Disease!), it's the needing a walk several times a day, it's having to work every outing around the dog's schedule, it's what they smell like when they're wet, it's what they make your car smell like on a hot day, and on and on and on. When you own a dog, it's like being a smoker - it permeates everything in your life, and you're the only one who gets used to it. And, as with smoking, I don't mind at all if you choose it for yourself, but don't expect me to squat down and talk in a baby voice while your dog licks my face because we're so happy to see each other any more than you'd expect me to light up with you.

Needless to say, my wife and children see it differently.

Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
Jmd123July 22nd, 2009, 8:09 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2608
Hey Shawn, congrats on both "the variety pack" and successfully introducing your son to the joys and perils of fly fishing. My first "trifecta" experience occurred on the Maple River in northern lower MI during the last year of my U of MI Bio station days (1990). I popped one of each on dry flies one night - and if I remember correctly, the fly was a #10 Royal Wulff (my favorite trout attractor pattern). I always enjoy catching a variety of species, which is perhaps easier in the warmwater fisheries I mostly hit these days.

As far as offspring fishing goes, I have yet to get my 13-year-old daughter into it yet. However, she is actually due to arrive for a weeklong visit tomorrow at 11:00 a.m., so we will see if she is interested. The 13-year-old son of my best friends - who happen to live on a lake loaded with bass, pike, and panfish - expressed a desire to learn fly fishing last weekend, so maybe he & I can inspire my daughter to try it...

Tight lines!!

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Jmd123July 22nd, 2009, 8:16 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2608
P.S. Dogs are magnificent creatures, and I have known and loved many of them, including the current two my sister & bro-in-law have as well as my folks' own cute little bugger. However, in my own bachelor life, I have a cat - they poop in a box, they don't bark, they don't need to be walked, they don't smell funky, and they purr when they are happy. You can leave them alone for 3-4 days without worry, and they're just happy as can be when you get home. They're not good fishing buds though - they do NOT like getting into cars!

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Shawnny3July 23rd, 2009, 4:59 am
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
they do NOT like getting into cars!

...or getting wet. Strange that they like fish so much...

Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
Jmd123July 23rd, 2009, 5:10 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2608
So long as someone else catches it, I guess...

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
TroutnutJuly 26th, 2009, 8:13 pm
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2736
Congratulations on the all-around great day fishing, Shawn. I think you should bookmark this story and show it to your son in about 15 years. :)

Having a dog isn't as bad as people have described. Getting a puppy can be great if you're the kind of person who loves to have your magazines and toilet paper torn into a million little pieces and strewn across the floor, but you just can't find the time to tear them up yourself. It's also useful if your carpet is short on poop. (I really do like our 4-month-old husky, though!)
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
Shawnny3July 26th, 2009, 8:25 pm
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Thanks, Jason. I'll be sure to show him it years from now, along with my account of our very first fishing trip - that was a pretty good story, too.

People will do anything for someone (or something) they love. My problem is that, when it comes to dogs, I lack that whole love motivator thing. And my other problem is that my wife has it. Too bad I love her. What a twisted world we live in.

Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
Shawnny3August 10th, 2009, 8:03 am
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Remember Casey's comment about dogs being perpetual 2-year-olds? Now there's research to back it up:

Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis

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